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How much house can you afford? Follow this rule

Presented by Angi - Your home for everything home

Presented by Angi - Your home for everything home

Taking care of your home has never been this straightforward. Get Angi, your home for everything home. Download the free app today at Angi.com!

Last year was rough for home buyers. Bidding wars shot up home prices across the country, and the market is still stacked with competition. Before you throw your hat into the ring and start hunting for a new house, you should set yourself up for success by first finding out how much home you can afford.

This will help you build realistic expectations. Time is of the essence in real estate, and people are buying up homes like hotcakes, so you can’t afford to waste a moment on a house that won’t be a good fit. Tap or click here for six online tools to help with your home-shopping journey.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to find houses within your price range. You just have to follow the 28% rule. Here’s all you need to know.

First, find your housing expenses

You can do this by figuring out your debt to income (DTI) ratio. This is a metric your bank uses to decide how much money it will lend you.

This metric compares your monthly debts to your pre-tax income each month. Your bank may qualify you at a higher ratio if you have an excellent credit score. For the most part, though, your housing expenses shouldn’t cost more than 28% of your monthly income.

Thus, calculating your DTI is a quick way to make your home-buying journey easier. Once you figure out what 28% of your monthly income is, you can filter out homes out of your price range.

If you don’t want to whip out a calculator and scribble out the numbers yourself, good news. Here’s a free calculator you can use instead, courtesy of NerdWallet. It looks like this:

Ready to sell your home? Want to buy a new HQ? NerdWallet has you covered. Here's a great way to answer the question of, "How much house can you afford?"

As you can tell, it helps you figure out what you can afford based on the city you’re looking to buy a home in. It’s pretty comprehensive: You just need to select your credit score level from poor, average and good to excellent. You can input more specific data, like property taxes, homeowners insurance and HOA fees.

RELATED: This Zillow update makes home shopping easier

Another free calculator

Here's one of the best ways to find out how much house can you afford. Best of all, it's 100% free! Thanks, Penny Hoarders.

When it comes to free resources, you’re spoiled for choice. Like NerdWallet, The Penny Hoarder also offers a free online mortgage calculator. Tap or click here to get started.

This free tool asks for your take-home pay, the size and terms of the loan you want and a few other factors, like how much money you have for a down payment. Once you input this information, you’ll better predict property taxes, closing costs and interest.

It’s a great way to prepare yourself for the strenuous home-buying process. You’ll inform yourself ahead of time, so you aren’t surprised by hidden fees.

RELATED: The best and worst things to do when you’re selling your home

Then, see if there are any ways you can improve your existing house

Maybe you want to rack up more cash to increase your down payment for your new home. You might want to maximize your selling price when you put your current home on the market. One way to do this is by spearheading a home improvement project.

Fixing up your home with fancy upgrades can do good when you sell. You can stop wondering how much house can you afford and start feeling more empowered when you buy or sell your home.

When it comes to home improvement projects, one app can make the whole process as smooth as butter. Kim is a huge fan of Angi, a sponsor of her national radio show. This app sets you up with highly-qualified contractors who are close by. You can read reviews from homeowners like you and use specific filters to find the best of the best.

Taking care of your home has never been this easy. Get Angi, your home for everything home. Download the free app today at Angi.com!

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